Growth

EU – Japan cooperation

EU – Japan cooperation

The Directorate-General (DG) for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs has been working with the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) on an industrial and regulatory dialogue that seeks to to further develop regulatory convergence and solve regulatory hurdles. The cooperation allows for better mutual understanding of respective policies, including those related to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and government procurement.

EU-Japan Industrial Policy Dialogue

The EU-Japan Industrial Policy Dialogue, while two decades old, is an active and up-to-date body. It is a forum for in-depth discussion on issues of mutual interest covering competitiveness and industrial policy. This dialogue is particularly valuable as both Europe and Japan are confronted with similar challenges such as: how to boost competitiveness while addressing climate change issues, how to address the growing competition of third countries, how to improve energy efficiency, and which policies to adopt to accompany the digital transformation of industry and enterprises.

The dialogue serves 3 main purposes:

  • It is a forum for in-depth discussion on issues of mutual interest covering competitiveness and industrial policy. This is particularly valuable as both Europe and Japan are confronted with similar challenges, e.g. sluggish economic growth and demographically ageing societies.
  • It reviews the work of the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Co-operation and the activities of the business-led EU-Japan Business Round Table.
  • It is the umbrella for 6 technical working groups that meet once a year before the plenary session of the dialogue and report to the annual meeting. The groups are: standards and conformity assessment, automotive, corporate social responsibility, chemicals, environment/climate change, and robotics. 

The annual meeting takes place between the Director-General of DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs and the METI Vice-Minister for International Affairs alternatively in Brussels and Tokyo.

In 2015, the two sides established a regulatory cooperation action plan that envisages cooperation at an earlier stage to avoid late-stage discrepancies in the legislative process.

Public procurement: Industrial Dialogue on Railways Procurement

The EU and Japan are both parties to the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA). As part of the package leading to the revision of the GPA in April 2014, the EU and Japan agreed to set up an Industrial Dialogue on Railways Procurement. The Dialogue committee brings together officials, manufacturers and railway operators from both sides in meetings that are held once or twice a year. The objective is to monitor mutual market access and to discuss and ensure mutual recognition of safety standards in the railways sector. Procurement in this sector is economically significant in Japan and there is a general feeling that it needs to be further opened to foreign suppliers.

As a result of free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations, Japan opened the procurement of railways entities covered under the GPA by removing its 'operational safety clause' on transportation with a transitory period of 2 years from the agreement in principle, or 1 year following the entry into force of the FTA, whichever is later. The EU opened procurement of railways entities covered under the GPA, but only for railway facilities and wagons in the urban transport sector with the above transitory periods.

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